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CJ Baker

Two of the Powell police officers who participated in the 2009 drug search of Tricia and Bret Wachsmuth’s Powell home say they were concerned Tricia Wachsmuth was allowed to lead the officers into the home’s basement before it was cleared. However, they and the other officers who entered the basement that night agree that Tricia Wachsmuth went willingly and was not forced to do so.

Plaintiff Tricia Wachsmuth continued to present her case against the city of Powell and 11 Powell police officers last week, eliciting testimony from a Park County Sheriff’s lieutenant who believed police were using too much force in searching the woman’s home and from a police-practices expert who said police made a “mountain out of a molehill.”

Opposing attorneys and the woman suing the city of Powell and 11 Powell police officers for alleged civil rights violations laid out their cases for an eight-member federal jury in Cheyenne on Tuesday.

On Feb. 24, 2009, Powell police officers executed a search warrant for a marijuana grow operation at the East North Street home of Bret and Tricia Wachsmuth. During that search, they used a battering ram to knock down the door and deployed a flashbang in the master bedroom.

Monday, Feb. 28

This case is going to be determined by the eight-member jury.

U.S. District Court Judge Alan Johnson today rejected a request from the defense to dismiss the case for insufficient evidence after plaintiff Tricia Wachsmuth rested her case.

"Sound like we have jury disputes at this point," the judge said, essentially reaffirming a decision he made Jan. 25.

Civil rights trial slated to last two weeks

A Powell woman’s claims that the Powell Police Department used excessive force in searching her home for illegal drugs are being presented to a federal jury in Cheyenne this week.

The jury will be asked to help determine whether Powell police violated Tricia Wachsmuth’s constitutional rights in seizing two marijuana plants in a February 2009 search of her and her husband Bret’s home.

County meeting next week in Powell to discuss future

The Park County Fairgrounds’ Large Exhibit Hall will likely be demolished prior to the 2011 Park County Fair, county commissioners said Tuesday.

A Jan. 24 report from a county-hired engineer advised commissioners it probably would be better to replace the aging, failing building instead of spending an unknown amount of money trying to repair it. The hall, which houses general exhibits during the fair, has been closed to the public since a late January inspection revealed potentially unsafe structural failures. The Small Exhibit Hall, attached to west side of the Large Exhibit Hall, and hallways running between the two buildings have been found to be safe for use and remain open to the public.

The Powell High School girls basketball team convincingly beat two conference opponents over the weekend, closing out a lengthy home-stand in style.

The Lady Panthers handled Jackson 42-26 on Friday night, then overwhelmed Pinedale on Saturday, 60-35.

A federal judge has dismissed several claims against the Powell Police Department and the city, finding some of a Powell woman’s civil rights complaints over a February 2009 drug search of her home were not supported by the facts of the case and the law.

However, in a Jan. 25 decision, U.S. District Court Judge Alan Johnson also allowed the major claims brought by Tricia Wachsmuth to proceed to trial.

"About like last year.”

That’s Powell Police Chief Tim Feathers’ overall assessment of crime in 2010, as compared to 2009.

The Powell Police Department’s recently-released 2010 Annual Report shows the number of violent crimes dropped slightly.

Park County and the state of Wyoming are fighting for their right to sue the federal government over lowered snowmobile limits in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks.

The county and state are appealing a September decision by federal District Court Judge Alan Johnson in Cheyenne that said they lacked the legal standing to challenge the National Park Service’s rules for winter use in the two parks.

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